Listening To Positive Outliers
The more I studied the research emerging from the field of positive psychology, the more I learned how wrongheaded we are (not just the Harvard students, but all of us) in our beliefs about personal and professional fulfillment. Studies conclusively showed that the quickest way to high achievement is not a single-minded concentration on work, and that the best way to motivate employees is not to bark orders and foster a stressed and fearful workforce. Instead, radical new research on happiness and optimism were turning both the academic and corporate worlds upside down. I immediately saw an opportunity I could test these ideas out on my clients. I could design a study to see if these new ideas indeed explained why some were thriving while others succumbed to stress and depression. By studying the patterns and habits of people above the curve, I could glean information about not just how to move us up to average, but how to move the entire average up.